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Five tips for an internship at UKCES

Posted by: and , Posted on: - Categories: Career development, Work experience

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills is a non-departmental public body, which works across government, sectors, regions and policy area to respond to the UK’s skills and employment needs. The Commission actively promotes collaboration between education, employers and government, conducts world-class research, and leads the debate on productivity, youth employment and many other policy areas.

We are currently recruiting for graduate interns in several areas of the organisation through our internship programme. This has been a successful programme for UKCES and interns who have entered it, whether they have gone on to further employment within the Commission or elsewhere.

An internship at the Commission will allow you to cultivate skills in the workplace and develop yourself and your career. If you’re thinking about applying, there are few tips you’ll need to know. Helpfully, we’ve compiled the top five to get you started. Get your head around these and your time will fly by…

Multitasking. The skills of multi-tasking will be unimaginably useful. Replying to emails, whilst being on the phone, working on a Word document, updating a database, and deciding on when to take your lunch break will become second nature. Switching your brain from one project to another and back again whilst remembering key information is crucial. As you progress and your tasks become more complex and carry more responsibility, writing a senior briefing whilst preparing a presentation you’ll deliver and ensuring both are top quality becomes very helpful indeed.

Communicating. Once the general bafflement fades and you get your teeth into your work, you’ll be in a position to add your thoughts, give feedback and suggest ideas. UKCES bangs the drum for young people in the workplace and for nurturing talent and it’s no different internally – so interns are encouraged to contribute. As you progress this will mean standing up and presenting as well as making concise, intelligent contributions in meetings. You’ll encouraged to develop your communication skills and put them to good use.

Inbox management. Your email inbox will be your best friend, as well as the bane of your life. Grabbing a cuppa will somehow equate to another thirty emails reappearing. Taking a day off could result in over one hundred emails to sort through! Half won't even be directly for you - but you will be “cc'd in for information”. Staying on top of them is important and you will master the art of creating loads of different folders and constantly sorting them. Knowing when to switch off (your computer and your mind) is vital – prioritising, organising, deleting are too. 'Email inbox full' signifies game over!

Handshakes. We all know the handshake thing isn’t that hard - just carefully avoid the ‘limp fish’ or ‘the bone-breaker’. But meeting new people will become a big part of your internship; not just on your first day when you meet the whole team, but throughout your internship – arranging, recording and contributing to meetings, both in the office and out and about. You may be going from a meeting with a department official, to a work placement student, to a small business owner, to a third sector representative, and keeping track is a skill in itself. As you take on greater responsibility for tasks, you’ll find that working with people in an efficient, friendly and constructive way is a precious skill too.

Acronyms. Acronyms will be constantly thrown around, followed by understanding nods of agreement. Be part of the 'in-crowd' by grabbing the UKCES acronym-buster – or else you will be perpetually puzzled by 'KIT', 'TP', 'UKFP', 'NOS', and many more. More broadly, gaining an understanding of your projects, the Commission’s work, the wider world of skills and employment policy, and current affairs will happen as you develop and progress. Before too long, you will be casually dropping those acronyms all over the place, including outside the office, and looking astonished when your flatmates don't understand what you're on about.

The UKCES internship programme is currently open for applications. To apply for one of the positions, please see details on our GOV.UK pages. The deadline is 16 March 2015.

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